The Viewmont Lady Vikings girls’ basketball team recently took apart their sixth straight opponent Tuesday afternoon, defeating another former region foe in Fremont 52-48. I can only assume it was a hard-fought battle.
And with its sixth win of the season already Рthe team won just eight overall games last seasonР I’ve asked myself this question: just how good are the Lady Vikings?
Let me count the ways.
In order to be a good team, you have to have a good coach. Clint Straatman is that kind of a coach. In his first full season two years ago, he took the Lady Vikings to the brink of a semi-final berth in the 5A playoffs, only to lose to Fremont in a second-half collapse.
And that was with a dynamic duo of Xojian Harry and Belle Swan, who have since graduated.
This season, the coach already has his team approaching last year’s win total before they even hit region play. During a tough initial season in Region 2 last year, the Vikings won four of 12 games. They ultimately lost the play-in to get into the 5A playoffs.
This season has been a complete turn-around.
That brings me to point number two: there really aren’t any “stars” on this year’s squad. Not including Tuesday’s statistics, the Vikings have two players averaging more than 10 points per game this season: Caitlyn Larsen (16.1) and Katie Toole (11.8). The rest are averaging fewer than five points per game, but Straatman will tell anyone, and has told me on several occasions, that this is a complete team from top to bottom, no matter who is the top scorer of the night.
That’s just the way he likes it.
The only game I’ve been able to see first-hand was the Vikings’ second of the season against Layton, which at the time was ranked No. 2 in 5A.
A loss wouldn’t have been a big deal at the time, because the Vikings were unranked and seemingly off the radar when it came to the rankings.
But a four-point victory may have raised a few eyebrows, which leads me to my third point.
The Lady Vikings are no longer the unassuming team when they step into the gym at tip off.
Viewmont went from unranked and a virtual unknown, to ranked No. 7 in the state and No. 5 among 5A teams.
They’ve also beaten two former region opponents in Layton and Fremont, while also beating a pair of playoff teams from last season in Copper Hills and West Jordan.
And then there’s the depth, which is the final point I want to make about Viewmont’s success so far.
The Lady Vikings are doing all of this with only a pair of seniors on the team. Taya Adams and Shelby Justice are all that accounts for the seniority on the squad, and only Adams was in the starting lineup against Layton.
The rest is comprised of three juniors and one sophomore, who have all played hard from the opening tipoff to the final buzzer in Viewmont’s six straight wins to start the season.
That’s not half bad. In fact, it’s really, really good.
With the emphasis of team-play in Straatman’s message, the starting five plus the rest of the roster have scored 50 or more points in all but two of their games so far.
They’ve also held opponents to fewer than 50 points in all six games, which, of course, has led to the Vikings’ six wins.
Not a bad start to the season at all.